U.S., Israel Must Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Geopolitical concerns must never overshadow history. The short term gain, in relation to the memory of genocide and mass murder, is not worth momentary strategic advantages or military agreements. The relationships between Turkey alongside both Israel and the U.S. will continue, even when both countries eventually honor history and formally recognize the Armenian genocide.

On the 104th anniversary of a genocide that paved the way for the Nazi’s to implement the destruction of European Jews, it’s time the U.S. and Israel accept their responsibility to simply recognize historical fact. The longer both countries ignore reality, the longer nations around the world question the moral stature of both Israel and the U.S. For a nation forged from Holocaust survivors, and a country who defeated the Nazis alongside the Allies of World War Two, it’s imperative moral clarity take precedent over whatever benefits are derived from appeasing Turkey on this grandiose issue.

The U.S. and Israel, especially the generations of Israelis and Jews around the world who remember the murder of 6 million souls by the Nazis, must never allow short-term political considerations to overshadow historical record. Had the world recognized the reality of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children murdered in the Armenian Genocide, Hitler might not have been able to murder 1.5 million children, of which 1 million were Jewish, during the Holocaust.  

Six million Jews might have lived, had the world protected the memory of 1.5 million Armenians who’s lives were stolen by the Ottoman Empire.

In addition, Raphael Lemkin stated categorically that genocide, the word he created, originated from his study of what the Armenians experienced 104 years ago. For revisionist historians, Lemkin’s own words provide all the evidence needed to prove categorically what happened to the Armenians is the same planned and orchestrated barbarism committed against the Jews and other peoples across history. As Lemkin states in a 1949 CBS interview, “I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times, it happened to the Armenians and after the Armenians, Hitler took action…”  

In fact, Duke University explains in The Man Who Criminalized Genocide that Lemkin foreshadowed the Holocaust with his study of the Armenian Genocide:

A decade later, in 1933, Lemkin, by then a public prosecutor in Warsaw, wrote a paper for an international criminal-law conference to be held in Madrid, drawing attention both to Hitler’s ascent and to the slaughter of the Armenians. If it happened once, he argued, it would happen again. If it happened there, it could happen here. “Lemkin offered up a radical proposal,” Power writes: Preventing genocide must be a global imperative, one enshrined in international law. His draft law would outlaw “barbarity,” meaning ”the premeditated destruction of national, racial, religious, and social collectivities,” along with “vandalism,” referring to the “destruction of works of art and culture, being the expression of the particular genius of these collectivities.” But the Polish Foreign Ministry, interested in an accommodation with Germany, would not allow Lemkin to travel to Madrid. His proposal was tabled at the conference.

Ultimately, what Raphael Lemkin worked to prevent was the murder of millions, in a planned and premeditated manner. Anyone today citing the word “genocide” without an understanding it’s the orchestrated killing of hundreds of thousands and millions of souls needs to revisit the teachings of Dr. Lemkin.

The history of both the Jewish and Armenian peoples is one of tremendous accomplishment but also inhuman suffering. The 1.5 million Armenians murdered by the Ottoman Empire preceded the Holocaust, and like the cattle cars used to ship Armenians to their death,  preceded the same transpiration of Jews to their deaths. The U.S. and Israel have an obligation not just to history, but to the rest of the world to stand up for the principles that have made both nations exceptional. The Armenian Genocide should be, and must be recognized by the entire planet, especially the two nations that should be leading the world in moral clarity and the defense of historical record.

About the Author
H. A. Goodman is an author and columnist published in numerous publications and websites.